Salinas, CA, March 29, 2020 - Growing up in Louisville, Ky., in the 1960s and ’70s, Everett Sivils faced poverty and prejudice each day with a sense of hope.
“I was one of those kids that people never gave up on,” said Sivils, who has worked most of his adult life giving back to kids all over Monterey County.
Continuing in that theme, Sivils has become the latest board member for Partnership for Children, the Salinas-based nonprofit that supports families with children experiencing serious illness.
“I remember many times I couldn’t go to the doctor,” said Sivils, 55. “You would have to try to get a ride from someone in the neighborhood. People die when they don’t have accessibility to health care. The partnership provides some hope, versus no hope.”
Partnership for Children has provided transportation to medical care and family support services for children with life-threatening conditions since 2007. Its transportation and financial assistance programs increase access to compassionate care for children living in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.
Jennifer Ramirez founded Partnership for Children as its own independent nonprofit, and is responsible for the vision, strategy and delivery of its services. As executive director, her passion for improving children’s access to medical care was born out of her personal experiences with her daughter, who has complex medical conditions. Jennifer became director in 2011 when PFC was a program of Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition.
Sivils first met Jennifer while serving on the board of Community Action Partnership, helping low income individuals become self-sufficient. He invited her to speak to members of the Monterey Pacific Rotary Club, where he served as president.
“The work is so critical,” said Sivils, who has spent the past 22 years as a behavioral specialist for Monterey County Office of Education, working with special education students (elementary to high school).
“When I was a kid I was bussed to suburban schools, and I remember all the riots and the derogatory signs directed to black folks,” he said. “One day they sent us to the auditorium, and a teacher said: ‘We all don’t feel the same way.’ Something inside me bubbled. It felt really good. People didn’t give up on me, so who am to give up on anyone? I couldn’t, so I turned it into my life’s purpose.”
Sivils served in the U.S. Army, arriving at Fort Ord in 1988. He and his wife Cardis Cruz-Sivils settled on the Monterey Peninsula with their daughter Domineque, who sadly passed away in May of last year.
About Partnership for Children
Partnership for Children (PFC) is a nonprofit organization focused on increasing access to care for kids with life-threatening conditions and supporting their families. Partnership for Children's transportation and financial assistance programs increase access to compassionate care for children on the Central Coast. For more information visit www.partnershipforkids.org.
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901